World Gin Day: 5 to Swirl, Sip and Savour

Even if you have a handy $1000 burning a hole in your pocket, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to get a hold of a bottle of The Archaeologist Gin (that is to assume you’d want to). But, as this Saturday (9 June) is World Gin Day, why not?

Words by Drinks Writer, Ken Gargett

Now, in Brisbane, World Gin Day falls on the same Saturday as the Wallabies’ first match against the near-all-conquering Irish rugby team. It might be a slow Sunday… This year we have the tenth anniversary of this auspicious occasion, but do we really need a World Gin Day? Well, there is a National Bourbon Day and World Whisky Day, so why should gin miss out?

Nothing is hotter than gin at the moment. In the last decade, we’ve seen an explosion of producers, gins and gin-lovers. Of course, it is so much easier, more economical and financially rewarding to make gin rather than those spirits that need years in barrel to mature like whisky and rum. Gin goes from ‘still to store’ in a matter of months. So to celebrate and because we love gin so much, here are five we’d highly recommend enjoying on this annual day. Some ridiculous, some delicious, some new. Keep your gin up this Saturday!

FOUR PILLARS BLOODY SHIRAZ GIN

Is this Australia’s favourite gin? It is certainly a massive cult favourite and sells out every year. The 2018 has just been released (the marketing team at Four Pillars never misses a trick) and it is, if not their best since the inaugural release of the 2015. Toss a coin between them ($90).

It is like no other gin – neon purple in colour and it has a gentle, sweet slurpable-quality to it. The flavour and colour come from time spent steeped in Yarra Valley shiraz. It oozes spices – clove and white pepper, juniper and orange blossom aromatics. It is more black fruits than the red berry/cherry/raspberries that were prevalent in the earlier releases.

A revelation.

THE ARCHAEOLOGIST GIN

Does anything hit the heights on the weird-o-meter like this bizarro gin? Its creator is a motorbike enthusiast, dubbed The Archaeologist because he has spent many years tracking down old Harley-Davidsons from all corners of the globe. Each bottle of his gin, yours for just US$1,000 (though they sell out on release and there is a waiting list with priority given to customers who have purchased motorbikes from him), contains an individual part from one of these vintage bikes.

So, I am assured that if you purchase one of these bottles, yours could have anything from a bit of a 1939 Flathead camshaft (he found this bike in the Mexican desert), 1947 Knucklehead screw nuts (discovered in Chile), or 1962 Panhead rocker arms (a bike located in South Korea) – they are sealed in a tin to prevent any pollution of the spirit. I have no idea what any of those things are or do, but I’d put money on none of them improving the flavour of gin.

CAMBRIDGE WATENSHI GIN

This translates to Japanese angel gin and refers to the ‘angel’s share’, the tiny percentage that disappears during distillation via evaporation. The Cambridge Distillery folk catch this 1%, but they need to distil every batch at least 50 times as they are getting just 15mls per run. In addition, it is distilled at half the pressure of that found at the top of Everest and a temperature lower than the coldest-ever recorded at the South Pole.

Needless to say, it is not cheap.

The annual allocation to the UK is a mere six bottles and, at £2,000 each, it is the world’s most expensive gin (those six bottles are apparently usually the entire annual production).

Surprisingly, I’m still waiting for my sample to arrive. To join the waiting list, email watenshi@cambridgedistillery.co.uk

GORDON’S PREMIUM PINK DISTILLED GIN

Pink gin. One can almost picture Robert Morley and Terry-Thomas sipping from a pink glass in an old black-and-white flick or British officers having a quick round of one of these before heading out to shoot some natives in a far-flung colony.

Who among us thought pink gins were a thing of the past? I did. Gordon’s is not only reviving them but offering them ready-made. They have used a recipe from the 1880s and their traditional London Dry Gin mixes with flavours ranging from strawberries to red cherries and raspberries ($48).

Personally, I think it would be ideal for a gentle cocktail or even as a twist on the traditional G&T.

MONKEY 47 DRY GIN

At the risk of forever offending my mates at Four Pillars, I’ll confess that my favourite gin of all is the stunning Monkey 47 ($85).

Germany might not be the first place one thinks of for great gin, but this complex bottle of joy from the Schwarzwald region should change that. The 47 comes from both the fact that it is bottled at 47% and that they use an amazing 47 different botanicals, resulting in the most complex gin going around (which is why the Monkey is more of a mystery). This is a powerful gin with herbs, citrus, red fruits, florals and even a touch of pine. One of the many flavours is cranberry!

Legend has it that the original creator had a dream while staying in a country house known as ‘the wild monkey’, that he would make a gin with 47 ingredients… Well, it makes a good story.

I give it 47/47.

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